17 NBA teams will have 2K eSports franchises when league debuts in 2018

Posted May 4th, 2017 at 10:30 am

The NBA and publisher 2K Sports announced an eSports initiative back in February that will involve the league teaming up with the NBA 2K video game in the competitive gaming space. NBA teams will have their own NBA 2K franchises, made up of 5 players using their MyPlayers, as they go through a league-like regular season and postseason structure. 17 teams will be ready to go for the inaugural NBA 2K eLeague season in 2018. 

-Boston Celtics
-Cleveland Cavaliers
-Dallas Mavericks
-Detroit Pistons
-Golden State Warriors
-Indiana Pacers
-Memphis Grizzlies
-Miami Heat
-Milwaukee Bucks
-New York Knicks
-Orlando Magic
-Philadelphia 76ers
-Portland Trail Blazers
-Sacramento Kings
-Toronto Raptors
-Utah Jazz
-Washington Wizards

The expectation set to have all NBA teams with an eSports team was not reached but that is now the plan for expansion in the future. There will be tryouts and a Draft for players at an unspecified point later this year.

While eSports is huge within some genres and specific games – think the likes of DOTA 2, League of Legends, Counterstrike – it has not taken off with games that represent actual sports. There has been legitimate question whether it ever will given the competition from televised sporting broadcasts and the video games being played in an unrealistic manner which makes them unappealing to spectate. The companies have also had to face controversies related to the actions of the competitors who are unaccustomed to being in the public eye, cheating scandals, and various online-related problems.

Those concerns and others remain with the NBA 2K eLeague but there’s no question that having the backing of the league and potential rooting interest that comes along with team attachments gives it a better chance to succeed over time.